I'm fighting a losing battle
16 Jul 2009 02:08
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Nutella? Nutino? Hazelnut Spreads
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As thinking human beings, we are constantly manufacturing our perceptions of the world — when we see something, we question whether it's right or wrong. But whatever we decide, we attempt to live our lives based on our newly developed belief.

What happens, however, when it seems like the entire world is contradicting what you think is right or wrong? How you continue to do the right thing, when nobody else is?

Music. Movies. Books. Video Games. Software. Operating Systems.

I'm talking about piracy. I see people around…

Nothing like the real thing
© James Kanjo 2009
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  • Who generously offer their music through P2P1 sharing networks;
  • Who honourably save their family the hassle of wasting money on buying movies, buy downloading hundreds of freely available pirated copies;
  • Who go to great efforts to grasp hold of an unpublished book and publish it on the internet for the whole world to see;
  • Who kindly burn CDs for their friends, to keep them up-to-date with the latest games;
  • Who charitably share software keys of expensive software, so that everybody has the opportunity to use the top-of-the-line programs;
  • Who righteously hack newly released Operating Systems to rid them of requiring a license to run them, and distribute so that nobody needs to waste money constantly buying the latest upgrades.

When music, movies, books, video games, software and operating systems are readily available for purchase, there is NO just way of obtaining replications.2 People don't seem to understand why it's wrong, however.

It is stealing. It is theft from the owner of the intellectual work in question.

A music artist, Jane, has spent the past 7 months creating a song that is going to rock the world. She has spent her life savings on researching, sound equipment, training, software and instruments to produce this song. At last the song is finally released to the public.

Rupert decides to buy the song, which costs him $2. After listening to it, Rupert says “WOW! This song is the BEST song I've ever heard!”. He decides to share the song on a P2P network, burn a dozen CDs to give to his friends and family, and even set up a download link on his blog. All recipients of this song are dazzled by it. They too, make copies and share it with the world. Soon the entire world has this song, and absolutely love it!

Meanwhile, Jane has made a terrible investment. After spending all this money to release her song, only one person bought it. She is in debt to many banks, and is forced to move out of her home (being unable to afford it any longer). Jane was traumatised that she spent so much time, energy, brain-power and creativity on something that nobody wanted to buy.

Millions of copies of this song are now circulating the world. Rupert was the only person who purchased the song. Therefore Rupert has effectively stolen MILLIONS of copies of the song from Jane, merely because he shared it.

This is why piracy is wrong. When people go to such efforts to make something that is good, they deserve to be paid for it. If you share a song from your favourite artist, then you are actually punishing your the artist, and stopping them from making the money they deserve.

People have said to me, "But they've made so much money already, they don't need any more, so I don't need to buy it". Wrong wrong wrong. How much they're profiting is not only none of your business, but they deserve to profit from EVERY copy of their song, despite how much money they have.

Whenever somebody offers me CD, DVD, book or anything else, I always first ask "Is it a pirated copy?". If it is, I politely reject the offer. If it is the real deal, I'll check it out. If I like what it is, then I'll buy my own copy.

I'm fighting a losing battle here, but I'll never give up. Hopefully, people will understand the wrongness of piracy, and will follow my example.

~ James Kanjo


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